Tuesday, 7 May 2013

State abuses section 121 for the benefit of ZANU PF

Harare, 07 May 2013. The Attorney General’s office have found a lovely toy in Section 121 of the Criminal procedure and Evidence Act. ZANU PF oriented prosecutors have been abusing this draconian act to keep behind bars those perceived as ZANU PF enemies.

A Bindura prosecutor Munyaradzi Mataranyika yesterday unexpectedly and unnecessarily invoked section 121 to block a US$100 bail that was granted by magistrate Elisha Singano.

This unjust piece of legislation has seen unprofessional prosecutors playing ball to Zanu PF’s demands. The section has been abused to keep mostly MDC members and civic society activists in jail when they have been granted bail.

The section empowers a prosecutor to override a magistrate’s judgement on bail. It has been heavily abused by prosecutors only in cases that are politically motivated. The prosecutors at times come to the courts unprepared for the delivery of justice but to seek means of punishing those who are perceived as enemies of ZANU PF.

Prosecutors  are developing an evil tendency of invoking section 121 every time a known MDC leader or activist is granted bail. The section therefore renders the judges and magistrates’ rulings academic as the accused effectively remain behind bars.

The section removes the right of the accused person to freedom. The State is now persecuting through prosecution. Even when an individual is clearly not guilty and with a clear alibi as in the case of leader Solomon Madzore, the State can invoke the section to deny one’s freedom.

Section 121(3) which reads:  A decision by a judge or magistrate to admit a person to bail shall be suspended if, immediately after the decision, the judge or magistrate is notified that the Attorney-General or his representative wishes to appeal against the decision, and the decision shall thereupon be suspended and the person shall remain in custody until—
 (a) if the Attorney-General or his representative does not appeal in terms  of subsection (1)—
 (i) he notifies the judge or magistrate that he has decided not to pursue the appeal; or
 (ii) the expiry of seven days; whichever is the sooner; or
 (b) if the Attorney-General or his representative appeals in terms of subsection (1), the appeal is determined

The section has clearly removed the onus to determine the freedom of the accused person from the presiding magistrate based on the submission of the prosecution and defence counsel. What a Bindura prosecutor Munyaradzi Matarenyika did yesterday to leader Solomon Madzore was unnecessary and unthinkable under a professional judicial system. This will be a thing of the past in a new dispensation under the leadership of President Morgan Tsvangirai.

For and on behalf of the young people of Zimbabwe

MDC Youth Assembly Information Department

Together to end,building a youth with a difference.
Commander Solomon Madzore addressing youths in Harare last week

1 comment:

  1. What is mind boggling in this decision by the magistrate is the fact that Solomon was out on bail granted by a higher court. Where on earth will the magistrate have powers to detail in those circumstances? Instead of detaining Solo, its high time Zanu Pf gives Solo an office at the police cells or prison as they miss him so much. The draconian Hitler style Section 121 has no place in the current world as it gives too much powers over the judicial system hence affecting the democratic thesis of the doctrine of separation of powers. Once the judicial system is invaded, it lacks its independence as is affairs will always be meddled with.

    This a challenge to us Zimbabweans, not just a legal and constitutional, but a sign that we need to change Zanu Pf and do away with all these draconian laws.

    The change is certain. Let us be the change we want to be. It starts with us and ends with Zanu Pf as an opposition party!

    Aluta Continua

    In Solo we trust!